League All Stars get season underway
Jacob McMaster - Bega District News
The Indigenous All Stars will have a lethal halves combination going into next weekend’s Indigenous v All Stars rugby league season opener.
Eden’s John Aldridge and Bega’s James Bower-Scott will line up in the halves for the Indigenous side and coach Mason Harrison is excited to see the pair work together.
“If those two combine well, I think we can really take it to the All Stars,” Harrison said.
The team is building from combinations sorted last year and Harrison felt just one or two training sessions would have the team ready to negate a loss to the All Stars last year.
“We got beaten last year, so the guys will be fired up and we’ll be out for redemption,” he said.
“I’m expecting a big effort across the park, but I think Cooma’s Corey Thomas could be a big impact player for us.”
Incoming coach for the All Stars, Mick Weyman, said he was excited at the prospect of coming in as a new coach and bringing ideas to the table.
“It’s a pretty new squad and we’re looking forward to working with the concept of what we’ve got,” Weyman said.
“It’s a huge boost for the group to have this round and it’s a great prelude to the rep round against Group 6 in a few weeks.”
Bega players Scott Fuller and Todd Ingram will line up with the All Stars, while a number of women get on board for the full contact ladies game.
A trial full contact match was held last year and proved a hit with officials and supporters as more than 1000 people flocked to watch the game at the Bega Recreation Ground.
Jillaroo Kezie Apps will line-up for the All Stars, while the Indigenous roster includes some undeniable talent.
Both men’s coaches have had little time to work with their respective line-ups, but said with energy building for the season, it wouldn’t be hard to get fired up for the round.
Especially given the match will be played at Moruya given the pair represent the Sharks and Bay Tigers.
“The atmosphere at last year’s game was fantastic in Bega, but there is just a different feel in Moruya with everyone close in to the ground,” Harrison said.
Weyman echoed the sentiment. “It’s a huge event and it’s going to be a big day for footy, being held at Moruya just makes it even better,” he said.
The day will serve as a trial for a number of rep squad hopefuls and Weyman said it would be an excellent match and an opportunity for players to put their best foot forward.
The Canberra Raiders have sponsored playing outfits for the men’s and women’s games, while NRL players will be on hand with the One Deadly Step Indigenous health program.
Harrison said support behind the round was encouraging.
“Everybody is getting behind this game and it’s helping to close the gap of Indigenous health,” he said.
“With the support of the Raiders and groups like One Deadly Step we can use sport to connect health and expand the lifetime of Aboriginal people.”
Weyman said it was a credit to Group 16 for acknowledging it’s Indigenous talent and promoting health in communities.
“You look around and there is talented indigenous players right across Group 16, but communities that are heavily involved with league clubs and it’s a credit to everyone supporting the day to recognise that,” Weyman said.
The Indigenous v All Stars round will see four games to be held from 2pm at Ack Weyman Oval, Moruya on March 12.